THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

2017 FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT THEATRES

<em>The Caveman Play</em>&nbsp;from The Basement

FIT Review: The Caveman Play

The politics are clear, and funny, in Jeff Swearingen's The Caveman Play presented by The Basement at the 19th Festival of Independent Theatres.



published Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Photo: Taylor Donnelson
From left, Doak Rapp, Ashleigh Smith and Chris Rodenbaugh in The Caveman Play from The Basement

 

Dallas — The Basement makes its Festival of Independent Theatres debut with The Caveman Play, written by Jeff Swearingen. This group features young adult actors, many of them alums of Fun House Theatre and Film who are looking at opportunities in theater outside of the typical university drama productions. 

The Caveman Play is an interesting take on existential questions such as our innate tribalism, male/female dynamics, social power structures, and the acceptance of “the new” in society.  Where it succeeds is in the writing and a strong straight-man performance in the star, Chris Rodenbaugh, but there’s also a solid showing from others in the cast: director Doak Rapp as Scrock, Ashleigh Smith as Gorga, Joseph Nativi as Frukin, Laney Neumann as Ugrin, and Taylor Donnelson as Gnarlin.

The pacing is quick with a nice balance of plot development and punchlines, much to Swearengen’s and Rapp’s credit. The bawdy level is in the Goldilocks winner “not too hot,/not too cold” category, but perhaps a bit overly relied upon for a laugh. The costume design and props (uncredited, but presumably by the ensemble) work for comic effect and show budget limitations in a new production.

The conflict of the play has Rodenbaugh’s character, Ugh, questioning the fundamental tenants of his tribe and only ever getting the response “that’s just the way it is” from them, even after he makes useful discoveries that he teaches to his fellow cavepeople. It’s the same struggle that rebels face throughout history, best summed up by Ghandi: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”

When an animated video introduces the famous experiment of the monkeys and the step ladder to demonstrate pack mentality, the target of this play becomes even clearer.

The production goes into overkill in the closing when the political commentary text overshadows the subtext. The common horror movie adage “never show the monster” would succeed in capturing the tension a bit more than a projected sketch of it on stage during an ominous voiceover in the finale, although it does follow through with the play’s cave drawings that accompany each scene.

That said, when it’s paired with Audacity Theatre Lab’s The Great Dictator, as it was when both plays opened on July 21, it’s a one-two punch at current American politics.

 

The Caveman Play continues in the following blocks:

  • 5 p.m. Saturday, July 29
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, July 30
  • 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5

Read our interview with Doak Rapp here

See more info about the 2017 Festival of Independent Theatres schedule here.

 

 

 

 Thanks For Reading




Dates, Prices, & Other Details

View the Article Slideshow

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
FIT Review: The Caveman Play
The politics are clear, and funny, in Jeff Swearingen's The Caveman Play presented by The Basement at the 19th Festival of Independent Theatres.
by Brian Wilson

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
An Act Of God Circle Theatre CCBT Lone Star Circus Black Nativity Watertower Theatre Fade Uptown Players UNT Dance and Theatre Margo Jones Holiday Open Classicial Plaid Tidings Dallas Opera Dallas Opera
Hear Here
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit